Vegas was a gas as usual. I managed to stay out of trouble for the most part, and got some work done. First impressions are this:
Head- New ski to replace the Mojo 90 looks great, overall graphics were solid, a new “chip” iM78 should be spectacular, boots look solid. A monter in the 100mm range will battle with the Mojo 103 for floor space. A bit spendy like the 103, I may not stock both. There’s gonna have to be a ski off! Tyrolia bindings will see some changes due to FIS height requirements. Many models lose the snti-blocking anti friction devise as well as the diagonal heel. Bummer!! The LD-12 gets to keep all the good stuff as do all the railflex models. Maybe the most interesting thing at the Head booth were the Palmer skis. I need to ski them and do some more research (the Palmer website comes up as soon as this blog entry is done). So far they look more than interesting- more like they are kind of mind blowing! Peter Keelty of Realskiers.com has spoken very highly of them and I attempted (without success) to ski them last year. Now they are being distributed by Head, so it should be easy for me to get on them. Maybe this next week?
Fischer- Watea gets only graphic changes (can’t fault them here!), Womens skis are solid with nice minor upgrades. Still missing a big wide ladies power ski, but the ladies stuff they have is really good. They showed a FIS race ski that has been the talk of the World Cup circuit. It has holes in the tip and a “swallowtail” in the rear. Everything else in Fischer skis looks great too. In addition to the skis, the boot line continues to evolve and improve. We sell more Fischer boots every year. Even the bags were really nice. They are made by High Sierra for Fischer this next year.
Volkl- Tigersharks are gone (I never liked ’em much anyway). The new “switch” ski is called the Grizzley. It looks awesome and is pretty awesomely expensive too. It will be interesting to see how well it skis. As a replacement for the AC40, the AC50 with a system Duke binding should be phenomonal. A womens Gotama, a rocker ski, and some additions to the Duke/Jester royal family rounded it out. Boots have been pretty well overhauled. Good graphics, very cool carbon buckles, need to get a few on some more feet. Just too little time at the Volkl booth. My hour was inturrupted by an award ceremony as Volkl was given props for their contibution to the US ski teams efforts.
Elan/Dalbello- Refinement on the ski side. A few tweaks in the Magfire series. 999 and 888 are joined by a really nice looking 777. A killer womens fat ski, an Ingimar Stenmark model carver, and a new big mountain “twin tip” series were all nice additions. Dalbello has (of coarse) kept pushing the Krypton thang with hot new graphics and some minor tweaks (primarily materials based). A new model replaces the Z series and incorporates come 3 piece cabriolet (krypton)style design features. I like it!
Stockli- A $3500 very limited edition ski was the showpiece. Let me know if you want to special order one! What I wanted to see however, was the new Scot Schmidt model. And there it was. Scot was there and I asked him how he felt about the final result. “Don’t know” he said, “haven’t skied it!” It turns out that there are currently 4 in existence. All four were there and Scot was taking one home to mount and test. We flexed it some and surmised that it felt pretty much like the current model (but with the new dimensions). He was thinking the tip may need to be softened up a bit more. Even legends get older I guess! Scot was also hopeful that Greg Stump will complete his history of ski movies to release in the fall. It sounds like a documentary type approach. Interesting. Anyway, I’m getting off track here. Stockli skis. New Cross series skis. All the big shirt skis (Stormrider xl, xxl, xxxl) get to keep running. New DP Pro. Rotors stay. Rotor 78 and the XXL were the best sellers nationally this year and it is no surprise. They appeal to a very large segment of the ski population.
Salomon has an interesting boot. It is a falcon with sections of the forefoot that can be heated and molded to the foot of the skier. Their skis look to be continue to improve as well. Alpina is typically a source for great kids boots. Each year I have to view the whole line to then order only junior boot models. This year out of the blue they are doing a foam injection model at around $400. Wow! This could be a great boot for a lot of people. I now have a pair in my size on the way and will foam ’em up and ski them ASAP. Hart skis are back and looking seriously good and hand made. I will be looking at them over the next few weeks also. Scott’s mission ski is still on the radar. I viewed Rossignol and was impressed. Totally revamped line from France with great graphics on the “7 deadly sins” collection. Replacement for the Bandit series looks similar to the B2, 3, 4, but after 10 years the Bandit name is gone. Rossi looks good. I like the rep too. Turns out we went to rival high schools. Did the full tilt and line tour and will be doing Full Tilt adeeper next year. Line skis look pretty good and are quite reasonably priced. Gotta ski ’em. 4Front has great art and a cool vibe but has moved the company from Tahoe and production from the US, so I am less interested than before.
There’s more (lot’s more) but that is the thumbnail of what I cared about going into next ski season!